I went to CanCare's Annual Cancer Survivor's Day Luncheon today. The grand event was held at the Westin Galleria Hotel and attended by hundreds of cancer survivors and others whose lives have been touched by the dreaded disease.
Accompanying me was Paula, a friend, who became a member of the "survivor club" just a few years ago. Paula was attending this event for the first time. I had invited her because I knew the luncheon would prove to be a meaningful experience for her - as it as always been for me.
I became aware of CanCare and the Cancer Survivor's Day Luncheon in 2006, a year after the removal of a small lymph in my breast had left me cancer-free and hopeful about long-term survival. Attending that first Survivor's Day Luncheon was truly amazing! I met so many other women who had battled breast cancer (like me), as well as their loving caregivers. I also met survivors of other types of cancer too. And, in each case, all seemed to be thriving!
Additionally, I met many CanCare volunteers. All are cancer survivors themselves and are making a huge difference in the lives of others battling cancer. They know firsthand the fear, anxiety and questions that go along with a cancer diagnosis. And, because of them, CanCare is fighting cancer with hope!
During the luncheon, it is customary for cancer survivors to stand and be recognized. That first year, I stood up as a one-year survivor. Today, I stood as a seven-year survivor. Being able to stand and be counted is an emotional time. Feelings of gratitude surface, and tears of joy seep out. Not just for me, but for many, many others, as well.
And, then, our emotions become stronger still when others stand and proclaim 10 years of survivorship, or 20 years, or 30 years or more.
Always, I think, "This is just SO wonderful!"